It's no wonder why most of us Americans pine over the happenings of the royal family. After all, the closest thing we have to anything royal is the president and his family. But, after a few years, we're voting for someone new anyway, so there isn't exactly the rich heritage in a presidency that there is in the blue bloods of England.
For those of you hooked on The Crown on Netflix, you've likely declared yourself an expert on all things royal already or are desperately awaiting season 3 to get your Royals fix. For many of us glued to Claire Foy playing Queen Elizabeth and Matt Smith acting as her husband Prince Philip, our eyes have been opened.
While life might look grandiose and nothing but perfect on the outside, being raised royal has its own unique and often frustrating quirks. Some might even claim that growing up royal is far more challenging than being raised like a regular Joe.
Although being raised in the royal family does have incredible benefits, here are some downsides to growing up royal that you might have otherwise overlooked.
18 Long Slots Of Time Away From Parents
Many people took a sideways look at the TV when The Crown portrayed Queen Elizabeth trying to convince her husband to go on a six-month-long tour. The sideways glances were mostly due to her claiming that their children were too young to know the difference and that their parent's absence would in no way affect them.
For a member of the royal family to embark on this type of lengthy and grueling tour was no big deal. They viewed it as part of their royal duty. More often than not, parenting came in at second place on the to-do list. This was the royal standard. But, both Princess Diana and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton have made great efforts in changing the order of a royal mother's to-do list, making family first.
17 Always Having To Be On Show
From our long list of celebrities, we Americans appreciate the influence a picture has on the general population. For instance, most of us remember when Kim Kardashian died her hair blonde. Do we really care? No. But, work was slow that day and so, up popped a thousand pictures of Kim Kardashian with her new blonde do.
The difference between a Kardashian and the royal family is that members of the royal family actually do matter while Kim is just there for entertainment. The royal family represents a legacy. It symbolizes a firm and longstanding tradition that impacts many nations and offers stability to individuals. What this means, to be a symbol, is that a royal is on show from cradle to grave, no exception.
16 Not Understanding How Money Really Works
Knowing the value of a dollar doesn't come naturally to anyone. This kind of financial knowledge is only acquired through experience or education. So, it's only normal for you to have learned it because your parents taught you or because you went to the school of hard knocks. It would be the same if you were raised in the royal family... except you'd never hit rock bottom in the school of hard knocks.
The only problem was that for many generations royal parents didn't actually teach their kids how money actually worked. Everything was paid for them anyway, so it wasn't really important. Princesses Diana made it known that she would be teaching her two princes the reality of money. She decided this after hearing that her own husband Prince Charles had no idea how much a pound (official currency of the United Kingdom) was until he was nearly a teenager. And, she thought this was a ridiculous way to raise a child.
15 Being Sent Away For Overly Strict Schooling
One of the most heartbreaking episodes of The Crown is the one mirroring the educational experiences of father Prince Philip and son Prince Charles at Gordonstown in Scotland. Philip and his family were in a rather unusual situation at the time and him attending boarding school seem fitting to his parents. But, as the episode portrays, it was not easy. Mostly due to losing a family member while in attendance.
For Charles, his mother wanted to send him to Eton College in London, but Philip insisted on him boarding at Gordonstown to follow in the footsteps of his father. It wasn't unheard of for a royal family member to be sent away to school. Though, this trend along with many others stopped when beloved Diana was welcomed into the royal family. She sent her own two boys to Eton where they had positive experiences.
14 Having To Embark On Inconvenient Trips Abroad
Jetting across the ocean to another country is a walk in the park to most royals and to many people in general. Traveling has become so easy, in fact, that most people have opted to take very young children on the journey. Royals included.
Even Queen Elizabeth went with her parents on a tour of Scotland where she performed her first opening ceremony. Prince William was much younger than his grandmother when he went on his first overseas tour. At the request of his mother Diana, nine-month-old Prince William accompanied both his mother and father Prince Charles on a six-week tour of Australia and New Zealand. Nearly 31 years later, Prince William and the Duchess brought along their young son Prince George on the same exact tour. Both tours were highly successful, mostly due to the children winning the hearts of the public.
13 Being Used As A Game Piece To Control Paparazzi
A lesson that the viewers of The Crown have learned is that the media can heavily influence the public opinion of the monarchy. Let's just keep it real and say that the media pretty much tries to tell the general public what to think about the royal family. This fact hasn't changed in centuries and it's not about to change now.
The downside to this is that the cutest members of the family are often used as pawns, per se. From day one, a royal family member has little privacy simply because everyone wants to know everything about their existence. As you can imagine, having to look a certain way or even act a certain way for the cameras can get a little taxing. Even really young royals get a little fed up with the media vs. Royals game.
12 Misplacing Emotional Attachment From Parents To Nannies
As all moms know, simply becoming a mother doesn't shift any other responsibilities off your plate. This is the case no matter what social class you're from or what job you have. Being a mom means pulling double duty 24/7. Mothers within the royal family are no different. Even Queen Elizabeth, a mother of four, still wanted to fulfill her motherly role when she was crowned queen.
Most times, it's simply not possible for one human to do it all. Royal mothers end up in this situation a lot of the time. British nannies aren't exactly the Mary Poppins of the monarchy, but they do have a significant part in the raising of royal children. Often, it's tough because young royals displace their maternal attachment to their nannies what they should be feeling towards their own mothers. It can be a challenging and confusing situation.
11 Having To Call An Un-Homey Place, Home
Most people describe their fondest childhood memories according to the environment. If you're like most people, you've likely heard stories of the shag carpet at grandma's house or how warm grandpa always kept the fire burning stove. The Royals have similar stories, but on a much more grandiose scale. And, likely not as sentimental.
The reasoning for this is that most of the palaces and homes where the royals live are owned by Britain. This means that for hundreds of years, royal families have been abiding in these kinds of places. Places like Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Kensington Palace, and Clarence House.
10 Their Inescapable Future Of The Crown
Where many kids get to plan their future and go to college for the career of their choice, the royal family doesn't have that luxury. While they still go to college and can major in whatever they want, their true responsibilities lie in serving the role of Sovereign for their country.
The bottom line is that the crown typically wins in the end. For example, not even Elizabeth was totally prepared to take on the responsibility when her father suddenly passed away. She was third in line to reign at the time of her birth. Falling in line behind her uncle Edward and her own father George. When her grandfather King George V died, Edward abdicated leaving her father King George VI to rule. Elizabeth was only 25-years old when she became queen.
9 Never Quite Fitting In With Other Kids
One thing about being at the top is that the top is lonely. You can try to fit in with everyone else by wearing the same trendy clothes or visiting with the people that you rule over or even by appearing to be as normal as everyone else. The truth remains that royals are not normal. Even Princess Diana couldn't completely convince her own son that he wasn't exceptional. He had to be picked up from a birthday party for insisting he be the one to open the presents rather than the actual birthday boy.
When it all comes down to it, the weight of the Crown is heavier than most can imagine. No one in the royal family "fits in" with the everyday people of Britain. That's sort of their job - to not fit in. But, we're all humans after all and it must feel awkward sometimes not really having any place but on top.
8 Enduring Intense Historical Lessons
If you thought it was tough to learn all the presidents of the United States then try having to learn centuries worth of Kings, Queens, Dukes, Duchesses, Barons, Baronesses, and so on and so forth. In addition to titles, there were time periods like the Tudor period, Post-Medieval period, Elizabethan era, etc that had to be studied, as well. In short, royals don't have it easy when it comes to learning their ancestry.
Plus, the order of the British Government down to the last council member has to be learned, memorized, and known like the back of your hand when you're a royal. As portrayed in The Crown, the new Queen Elizabeth was furious with her mother for her lack of a regular education in the five major subjects every other child learned in school. Rather, she was drilled in intense historical lessons and about the duties of the Sovereign.
7 Having To Cover For Family Members
Scandals are what we Americans live for. And, the British aren't too far off from that petty love of drama either. One of the most well-known scandals of our day was that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. It's possible that a couple hasn't ever existed looking more unhappy together than those two. As Diana said, there were three people in the marriage, so you can only imagine the secrets.
Just like Americans, the British people talk. Only, they don't blab to everyone like we do. They talk amongst their own circles. So, it's only natural to think that the Queen and many other members of the royal family knew the dirt that was going down in this scandal alone, not to mention any other scandals that have happened in the past. What's unfortunate is the pressure the Windsor family must have been under to help cover for Charles and Diana, especially to the media.
6 Not Having The Freedom To Dream For Themselves
For those of you who are avid fans of The Crown, you know that Prince Philip had a love for the sea and an even greater love for the air. He dreamt of flying an airplane and getting his pilots license. So, that's exactly what he did. Though, it nearly didn't happen because of the stink it caused among certain diplomats.
Sometimes, it seems a little odd for us to think that there might be something we can't do. In America, the land of the dreamers, we tend to preach that there isn't anything you can't achieve. We tell our kids to follow their hearts and chase their dreams even if we often don't even know what that truly means. Well, royals don't have that option. Prince Harry reminded his older brother of this one day. Prince William was daydreaming about what he wanted to be when he grew up - a question prompted by his mother. Prince Harry quickly cut in saying, "No, you can't. You have to be King."
5 The Obligation To Earn Military Decorations
If you look at the lineup of royal men, all you see are military uniforms, sashes, and decorations galore. Prince Philip alone has to weigh an extra 15 pounds with his military decorations alone. Both Prince Charles and his two sons Prince William and Prince Harry have fewer titles, of course. Little by little, they're chests are getting heavier as they earn one decoration after another.
These decorations are not like the decorations you see on an American veteran or soldier. Most of those decorations are earned through title rank or even in battle. The royals earn their decorations slightly differently. Because they are the Sovereign leaders of England, they're not being sent to any front line of battle. They do, however, become military members and experience the military. Many of Prince Philip's decorations are titles, honorary appointments, and military decorations. Obviously, the more you do for your country, the heavier your chest weighs, and the nobler you look. So, the pressure is intense.
4 Not Realizing What Home Cooking Is
More than one royal has commented on the "fancy" cooking they ate while being raised in this palace or that palace. It might be hard to imagine it, but most royal families have chefs working for them. Some rarely even cook for themselves. After all, it's unnecessary. Prince Charles specifically mentioned the food during an interview about his childhood. What he said was that he really had no idea what home cooking or normal food was.
Charles was only 4 1/2 when his grandfather passed away thrusting his mother Elizabeth into a leadership position as England's Queen. She was only 25 at the time, a husband, two kids, and renovating the Clarence House at the time. Needless to say, the woman had little time to even learn how to be Queen before her coronation let alone cook for her family. Of course, Princess Diana changed that for her own children. With fewer responsibilities, she made the time to allow her kids many real-world experiences - home cooking being one of them.
3 Titles And Classes Are Heavily Reinforced
Here in America, we have social classes but they're not as defined as they are in England. For instance, we have upper, middle, and lower class. Often the lines are blurred, mostly being defined by white collar workers or blue collar workers. American parents are encouraged to teach their own children tolerance and acceptance of all.
In England, classes are handled slightly different. Like America, social classes are influenced by occupation, social status, and political influence. Unlike America, this is widely accepted. As you can imagine, some noses are upturned in certain situations as you are expected to socialize and marry within your class, but it's not as foreboding as it once was. Expectations are expectations and societal rebels abound in England just as they do in the U.S.A. But, royals are expected to respect the boundaries of their social class nonetheless.
2 Listening To The Drone Of Dinner Discussions
As you can imagine, the many topics of discussion at a royal dinner table are quite unlike those of us non-royal folks. If you think about it, regular topics include the meal itself, happenings of the day, things on the to-do list, local gossip, the latest Game of Thrones episode, etc.
The thing about being royal is that the meal itself is rather unimportant. To us, it may be the best part of the day. And further still, the happenings of the day include a much broader spectrum than that or ours. Also, a queen's to-do list probably doesn't have "mop the floors" on it and local gossip primarily includes talking about other diplomats in the dullest way possible. Which is sort of what Prince Charles had to say about dinner time when he was a kid...dull to no end.
1 Being Forced To Acknowledge Nasty Tabloids
Anytime you're famous enough to be in the public eye, you're basically forced to endure all that the media can conjure up about you. We know this from reading the tabloids on celebrities. How many times can Elvis be spotted, after all? The unfortunate thing about being a royal or joining the royal family via marriage is that its not exactly up to you who obsesses about you and who doesn't.
The good thing about this media phenomenon is that it's been going on for centuries. So, even though fresh new royals have no idea how to handle some of the published nonsense, the older and wiser royals certainly do. In fact, the younger ones depend on the more experienced ones to guide them through the media gauntlet. Perhaps royal babies are born with thicker skin? It's doubtful, but we'd like to think something larger than life protected them from some of the harmful headlines.
Sources: Royal.uk, BBC.com, Britroyals.com